Free 12 Week Course for Family Members

Jul 31

NAMI is offering its free 12-week Family-to-Family course in Crawfordsville, Indiana. (For more about the Family-to-Family Education Program, visit our Family-to-Family Course page.)

Date: Thursdays, September 4 to November 13, 2013

Time: 6:00 to 8:30 pm

Place: Crawfordsville First United Methodist Church, 212 East Wabash Avenue, Crawfordsville, Indiana (we’ll meet in the library on the first floor)

To Register: Call Kitty Haffner at 765.866.1640 or Joe Kraynak at 765.866.1485 or use the email form on this site

Read More

Meeting Recap

May 09

Five people attended last night’s meeting. To honor our group guideline #3 of absolute confidentiality, I’m not at liberty to disclose details of who shared what during our meeting, but the main question we discussed was how to talk about mental illness to loved ones who either think they know everything or are judgmental. This question actually falls into two categories:

  • Whether to disclose and to whom.
  • How to disclose.

I posted some time ago “Disclosure in the Workplace,” which generated some insightful discussion. Here, I’d like for people to share any insights and tips about disclosing to family members and other loved ones.

The following sections contain some suggestions gleaned from Bipolar Disorder For Dummies on disclosure in the workplace that are also relevant to talking about mental illness outside the workplace.

Choosing Whether to Disclose and to Whom

You may be able to gauge how receptive people will be by considering their past behaviors and comments they have made about mental illness. If they have demonstrated empathy for others who have had similar conditions, you may predict that they will treat your situation with care and understanding, as well. If they’ve done or said things that reveal a lack of understanding, they probably will not understand or have compassion for your situation.

If you hear someone describe a person with mental illness as a “nut job,” for instance, that’s not somebody you want to open up to. The person is obviously ignorant of mental health issues and needs some education, but not at your expense.

How to Talk About Mental Illness

Here are some suggestions on how to talk about mental illness if you choose to do so:

  • Play the role of teacher. Take a non-confrontational approach to presenting the facts about the illness.
  • Start by disclosing your condition to the people you trust most and those who seem more understanding and open minded.
  • Keep in mind that you control exactly how much you choose to disclose to each individual. You don’t have to tell everyone everything. Readiness to receive information varies depending on the individual.
  • If you’re the one who has the illness, describe the way you feel when you are experiencing symptoms. Nobody can argue or become defensive when you simply describe how the illness makes you feel.
  • Describe common symptoms you have. How is your behavior or the behavior of your loved one likely to change when you’re symptomatic? By describing symptoms, you accomplish two things. First, you let people know what to expect, so they are better prepared to handle any behavioral changes. Second, you enlist them in helping you spot early warning signs, which you may not notice when you’re feeling manic or depressed.
  • Share information about the treatment you’re seeking and what the goals of that treatment are. Many people with mental illness are “just like everyone else” when they receive effective treatment. Most people don’t know that.
  • Keep in mind that it may take some time for the people you tell to absorb the information you provide and even longer for them to accept it and change as a result.

Volunteers for Mental Health in Montgomery County

May 08

Volunteers for Mental Health in Montgomery County (VMHMC) has a meeting tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 20 at 7:00 pm at the Crawfordsville Public Library. I’m not sure in which room the meeting will be. I’ll post more details as soon as I know.

Kitty will be presenting at the meeting to inform attendees about what NAMI has to offer in Crawfordsville. Cecie and I will be attending, as well. I’m interested in finding out more about VMHMC. If you’re available, please come to the meeting to show your support.

 

New Bipolar Stem Cell Research

Apr 08

Dr. Fink just posted an interesting article on a new study that sheds light on how genes may contribute to the eventual development of bipolar disorder. Her blog post is entitled “Stem Cell Research Sheds Light on Genetic Factor in Bipolar Disorder.”

NAMI Indiana: Mental Health and Criminal Justice Summit

Mar 31

I recently attended the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Indiana’s Criminal Justice Summit in Indianapolis, IN. The morning’s keynote speaker was Major Sam Cochran (ret.), who is nationally known for his work in developing the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model in Memphis, TN.

Cochran’s message was clear: CIT is not just a law enforcement program; CIT is a community program and should be recognized as a community priority. It should involve not only law enforcement officers and dispatchers, but also prosecutors, judges, emergency room personnel, physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, therapists, the community mental health center, and other community resource centers.

Read More

Excess Glutamate Possibly Linked to Autism

Mar 20

Many chronic illnesses, including autism, possibly linked to excess glutamate in diet. If you can’t watch the video here, you can watch it on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL4SD5f2toQ. If anyone has had experience in trying to remove glutamate from your diet, please post a comment to share your experience.

Opening Doors to Recovery

Mar 17

At our previous meeting, a couple people mentioned that the state of Georgia provides a good model for how mental illness should be managed. I found the following video about the Opening Doors to Recovery program. This certainly looks like what we should be striving for.

If you can’t watch the video embedded on this page, view it on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2NJEL2WfCU.